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Founder’s Corner: A Talk on Cloud Innovation and Culture

Founder's Corner: A Talk on Cloud Innovation and Culture with Apper's Co-Founder, Timyas del Mundo-Mercado

Apper is not just home to cloud innovations but also to people who share the same vision of excellence. At the center of this fast-growing startup is Co-founder and Director of Finance and People, Timyas del Mundo-Mercado.

When asked about her story, Timyas began with sharing the origin of her name, owing to a deep Tagalog word, which according to her late father, means “purity or sincerity of one’s love and devotion to another”. Her journey to the world of start-up and the cloud began when she took up Business Economics in college. Always a seeker of thrills and challenges, Timyas took an MBA and majored in a subject she used to dread – finance.

She took on different adventures, career-wise. Having dipped her toes in management consulting and communications for a huge e-commerce company, Timyas found herself in a couple of detours and achieved milestones before eventually founding Apper.

In this feature, we get a quick insight on what goes on the mind of Timyas as a leader and what role she plays in leading her startup to unprecedented growth and success.

How did you know you were ready to commit to a startup like Apper? Were there any signs?

I knew I was ready to commit to a startup like Apper when I started feeling the urge to make an impact to a company.

When you’re part of a traditional company, you often just follow norms and chase KPIs. It’s all often about numbers and less of making a difference. Your actions and decision-makings are highly limited. However, in a startup like Apper, you can definitely bend norms, challenge status quos and think outside boxes.

The feeling was like finally being able to breathe again.

What unseen opportunities did you see that may result in making your startup a huge success?

I think it is the unseen opportunities in having a great company culture and also treating your employees more than mere workers. I think most traditional companies don’t have that insight– that it’s also important to develop a culture that will let your people thrive, both in work skills and non-work aspects.

I am proud to say that Apper develops people on both sides – we continuously support team members to learn and get certifications to hone their skills and also provide a culture that balances work and fun. Our people are all a huge part of Apper’s current success, and more so in the future.

What are your views on customer experience? What will be the customer experience of your business?

Customer experience is a huge and vital formula of Apper’s successes. Without considering our clients’ experiences from the start, Apper wouldn’t be where we are now. We take each customer experience seriously, from individuals to corporations we work with, and we always balance it with services we offer and how we can go the extra mile to deliver. Apper makes sure to always give each client a positive end-to-end experience to the best of our ability.

Do you feel that with Apper’s culture, you have the right support system in place?

Yes, definitely!

Apper’s culture is a breath of fresh air. We do our best to understand people’s needs very well and we have work-life balance. Each person has a good sense of responsibility and motivation to deliver output for the company’s success but, at the same time, are given the right balance to live life outside work and prioritize their wellness.

With the People Group, we make sure to let team members know that they are not alone and that they always have someone to go to. We have People programs like the Wellness Program, which focuses on mental health and wherein a team member can take a leave if they are feeling unwell mentally (this is outside SLs, ELs, and VLs). We also have Fri-YAY Events wherein a team member guest speaker shares an interesting non-work topic while we all eat free merienda and play trivia games at the same time. We do the right balance of work and fun!

In what way do you think Apper’s mission has impacted your industry?

Apper’s mission has definitely impacted the cloud industry by bringing innovation, not only in the technology side, but also in the way we run the company.

I think it is time for tech companies to realize that you can actually have a healthy, non-toxic culture with talented and motivated people on board and, at the same time, deliver quality services to clients.

When you imagine Apper’s future and your role in it, what do you see?

In a few years time, I imagine Apper being in the top league of bringing innovation to all. I see the company continuing to challenge its competitors – from being a small company who nobody knew to an industry game changer who brings quality services to clients and also has a healthy work culture with highly talented and motivated individuals who want to make a difference in the tech landscape in this country.

How do you find the right pool of talents to join your team?

We actually have an interesting way of finding the right pool of talents. While I can’t divulge much information, I can say that we have a unique process for our candidates, which is also not common in the industry.

For tech hiring, we usually do a “specialized challenge” wherein we test potential talents, skills, knowledge and work ethics. It’s actually a highly effective way of choosing the right pool of talents because their patience, attitude, and determination are also tested. We follow it up with the usual screening and interviews also before deciding on who gets the job offers. Once onboarded, we don’t stop there as we develop them by motivating them to continuously learn and get numerous certifications, care of Apper.

In the world of cloud innovation and digital awareness, Timyas embodies what it means to lead her team forward to greater heights. When asked about her tricks and tips when it comes to thriving in the height of a pandemic, she bared the honest truth. “Thriving in the height of a pandemic is very challenging.” She also expressed that the key lies in not being “stuck in a formula. One has to listen to what is happening outside – to clients, to the industry, and to your own people. You have to understand situations and be able to adapt to each one with an open mind. Definitely, being innovative is the key.”

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